Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #3

by Allen Matkins
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Renewable Energy Focus

New California tax credit would benefit Tesla gigafactory

San Jose Mercury News - Jul 11

Governor Jerry Brown announced last week that he signed legislation creating a $420 million tax credit for aerospace contractor Lockheed Martin, in a measure that also includes other tax incentives apparently designed to benefit Palo Alto-based electric carmaker Tesla Motors. California is one of five states competing for a $5 billion Tesla battery manufacturing plant, but Brown's administration has largely declined to discuss what the state is doing to persuade the company to build it in its home state.
 

USDA plants seed funding for rural clean energy

Renewable Energy World - Jul 11

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on May 5 it has earmarked up to $12.3 million in grants and $57.8 million in loan guarantees for the Rural Energy for America Program. This followed a December 2013 statement that the USDA will distribute $250 million to rural electric cooperatives through the Energy Efficiency Conservation Loan Program. This funding will support local renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and will facilitate the growth of distributed generation.

California ready to fund the next wave of microgrids paired with renewables and storage

Greentech Media - Jul 14

Microgrids -- autonomous yet connected islands of energy generation and control -- could be important building blocks of a truly resilient, solar and wind-integrated power grid. Someday. California has just announced $26.5 million in grants for microgrid projects that put renewable integration front and center. Earlier this month, the California Energy Commission issued a program opportunity notice seeking applicants that can “incorporate clean, low-carbon energy resources with energy storage and on-site energy management” to help meet the state’s carbon reduction and renewable energy goals.

Battle lines form -- farms vs. solar vs. high-speed rail

Environment & Energy Publishing - Jul 15

Tension is mounting in California over shrinking farmland as solar developers, oil companies, and the state's planned bullet train fight for open space. An alliance, the California Roundtable on Agriculture and the Environment, that includes farm groups and environmental advocates painted the situation with farmland conversion as dire in a report last week. The Brown administration doesn't see solar development and high-speed rail as being at odds with farmland preservation. If done correctly, it has said, both renewables and the bullet train promote preservation.

WTO tells U.S. to reconsider solar panel tariffs

Renewable Energy World - Jul 16

In a move that many in the solar industry applauded, a World Trade Organization (WTO) panel found that the U.S. government overstepped its bounds when it imposed tariffs on solar panels and other goods from China. The WTO committee ruled that the U.S. had violated certain rules regarding international trade in imposing the duties.

Looking for a place to locate your clean energy startup? These are the best states

Greentech Media - Jul 15

Every cleantech startup company wants the same things: access to capital, a local pool of young talent, a strong incubation network, and vision from policymakers. When accounting for clean energy policy support, climate goals, efficiency targets, transportation infrastructure and a host of other factors, the list of the top ten clean energy states nationwide is somewhat obvious. California tops the list, with Massachusetts, Oregon, Colorado, New York, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois, Vermont, and Connecticut following.

Is solar ownership poised for a comeback

Clean Technica - Jul 12

With “no money down” and “zero maintenance” to attract homeowners, solar leasing has become the overwhelming favorite for residential solar installations. And with the complexity of tax incentives, rebates, and financing, it’s hard to find fault with homeowners that choose this low-effort option. But giving up ownership means giving up a big share of the profits of going solar, and it may mean more expensive solar for society. So it’s good news that there are new options for making solar ownership as simple as a solar lease.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

EDF buys Illinois wind farm with Microsoft power contract

Bloomberg - Jul 15

A U.S. unit of French utility Electricite de France SA bought most of an Illinois wind farm that will sell power to Microsoft Corp. for 20 years. EDF Renewable Energy bought a 96 percent stake in the 175-megawatt Pilot Hill Wind Project from Orion Energy Group LLC and Vision Energy LLC that’s under construction 60 miles southwest of Chicago, the San Diego-based company said today in a statement. Terms weren’t disclosed.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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